Peskin looks to dust off Willie Brown rule on city commissions

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown had a policy of kicking political candidates off city commissions the moment they entered a race.

Brown, now a Chronicle columnist, recoiled at the idea that anyone would run a campaign and hold a low-level government position at the same time. His successors, Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee, also made a practice of asking their appointees to leave once they pulled candidate’s papers.

But because the rule was never written down, it wasn’t really enforced — and eventually, candidates ignored the tradition.

As a result, several people who are currently running for office serve on commissions, and a debate is brewing in City Hall over whether they should be allowed to keep their seats. Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who wants to resurrect and cement Brown’s policy, will formally ask the city attorney to draft a measure… (more)

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Real Estate Execs Disrupt Nonprofit Housing

By Toshio Meronek : sfweekly – excerpt

There’s a stealthy way developers get approval to build, build, build.

Hiding behind the scenes of many nonprofit housing organizations are corporate real estate professionals…

Over the past few years, the real estate industry has been cozying up to organizations that exist to help the poorest San Franciscans. It’s not well-known, but many of the nonprofits responsible for housing thousands of low-income San Franciscans and managing millions of dollars in public funding are run by people involved in real estate development, raising the question of whether, for example, an executive from Wells Fargo should be making decisions that affect some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

This conflict of interest can be stressful for tenants…

“We have no say,” says Phyllis Bowie, who lives at Midtown Apartments, a 139-unit complex in the Fillmore that’s managed by the city’s largest housing nonprofit, Mercy Housing

But renters do have allies. Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee ensures that residents get heard over the blare of executives, who he believes have an agenda that puts profits first on the priority list, with tenants toward the bottom…

San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation and the YIMBY Party attempted to win enough member votes to take over the board of the local Sierra Club chapter, but failed in their efforts…

MHDC, BRIDGE, and the board of Mercy Housing — which puts out the majority of the city’s affordable housing — signed on to support local state Senator and ex-Sup. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 35, which in practice could fast-track majority market-rate residential projects…

No big surprise: Sierra Club, Causa Justa, and the Housing Action Committee all opposed SB 35…

The 16th Street BART station could be home to what opponents have dubbed the “Monster in the Mission,” a new 10-story complex that would change the entire landscape of the neighborhood. (Only 42 of its 330 units are considered affordable.)…(more)

Good article with a lot of information. Unfortunately, most of the news is bad. If you care, you can still work on campaigns to replace the pro developer supervisors and state reps. The DCCC delegate election proved that people can make a difference if they get out and vote. The word that everyone is avoiding using is the word that most non-partisan groups agree is the problem with the Plan Bay Area and that word is gentrification. Look for someone with a plan to deal with rising property rates. Otherwise they do not have a feasible plan.

 

SF Planning Commission debates housing, ignores gentrification

Tim redmond : 48hills – excerpt

When will there be a hearing on the human costs of accommodating too much commercial growth?

The San Francisco Planning Commission discussed the housing crisis Thursday, and there were a few remarkable moments.

Much of the presentation by planners focused on the balance between jobs and housing in the city — which, to nobody’s surprise, is way out of whack.

Part of that is clearly a regional problem: The Peninsula cities love to approve tech office space but build no new housing, exporting the problem to SF. But the city also has a lot more jobs than housing…

Yimby Action’s Laura Clark said that “we should be building a lot more housing,” and that we should eliminate single-family zoning in the city within the next year. (more)

Gentrification may be what brought us Trump. Politicians need to listen to the anger and frustration the country is feeling over an unprecedented wage gap and cost of living increases.

San Francisco to move forward with modular housing for homeless

Mayor’s Office of Housing proposes prefab apartments to beat deadline for new development

Earlier this year, San Francisco purchased a federal parking lot at 1068 Mission with the hope of building housing for the homeless on the site.

Now the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Mayor’s Office of Housing will commission modular apartments to replace the lot, possibly creating hundreds of new units of emergency housing in a matter of months if the experiment goes as planned.

In May the Boards of Supervisors approved acquiring the property, which sits behind the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (more)

Big, new mixed-use project proposed for Potrero Power Plant property

By J.K. Dineen : sfgate – excerpt

The new owner of the mothballed Potrero Power Plant on San Francisco’s central waterfront has submitted a plan to build more than 1,800 residential units on the 21-acre property, a number that could jump to nearly 2,700 homes if the group is successful in obtaining an adjacent switchyard owned by PG&E.

The housing-heavy proposal, which proposes significantly more units than previously contemplated, will be subject to environmental review that will take about 18 months to complete… (more)

 

Landowner-tenant laws may be contributing to homelessness

ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

Affordable Housing Project by Plan Bay Area photo by zrants

– While laws are supposed to protect, attorney James Cook told KTVU local landowner-tenant laws may be worsening the Bay Area’s housing crisis forcing more people into homelessness.

“Both landlords and tenants would say the current housing laws have contributed to at least the rental crisis,” he said. “If you talk to owners, they say it keeps small-time owners from renting to people because they want to rent out units for market rates because housing prices are so high. If you talk to tenants, they say the just law eviction laws do not protect them from unlawful evictions and they aren’t right.”

Cook said the Bay Area’s housing problem has grown at a speed for which many people and laws couldn’t have prepared. According to Cook, the Costa Hawkins Act originally made the law which determines control for rent control and when you can evict someone under rent control and what type of housing qualifies under rent control. Just Cause eviction laws determine the circumstances under which someone can evict a tenant… (more)

Some words of wisdom coming out of this conversation about homelessness. We need to balance the powers between the landlords and tenants with an eye toward fairness for all. The current laws pitch landlords against tenants and we agree they are largely in need of an overhaul.

Houses over Bernal gas pipeline delayed again

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

bernalview

Bernal Heights view photo by zrants

Ronen points out that we can’t trust PG&E to ensure that a 36-year-old high-pressure gas pipe won’t blow up

The City Planning Department will have to do additional research on the chance that a pipeline under Bernal Hill could explode during the construction of two houses, the Board of Supes decided today.

The issue has been back and forth between the board and city planners for  years, mostly because the Planning can’t seem to figure out its own rules around environmental review..

The pipeline is one of the few in the city that isn’t buried under a street. The city doesn’t even know at this point how deep the earth above the pipeline is — 24 inches? Or 36 inches? Not clear.

The pipeline has never been fully examined for the sort of potential flaws that destroyed an entire neighborhood in San Bruno.

Justin Horner, a city planning staffer, said that “inadvertent affects that could be caused by negligence are not part of the [environmental review] process.

Which is why the city has argued that a full environmental study isn’t needed… (more)

Thankfully someone is paying attention. The last thing we need is to blow up another neighborhood in our haste to “build more housing.” Residents have been voicing concerns about this pipe for years. Neighbors will be relived to know someone has come to their senses. There is a general problem with an environmental review program that does not take into account the actual natural environment that is existing in determining how the project under review will effect that natural existing situation. A hearing is needed to clarify where and how such matters as seismic conditions and flood plains are taken into account in the building permit process, which is where, we understand this sort of issue is supposedly taken up. Please announce this hearing to the broadest audience possible and please cover this in the media regardless of how many other events occur on that day.